Two Indian American students swept the U.S. national championships in the varsity and junior varsity levels of the International Geography Bee, the bee recently announced.

Karan Menon, a student at J.P. Stevens High School in Edison, New Jersey, was the winner of the bee’s varsity division.

Samvrit Rao, a middle school student at Ashburn, Virginia-based Stone Hill Middle School, was the winner of the junior varsity competition.

Menon won the 27th National Geographic Bee on May 12, 2015 in Washington, D.C. (see earlier India-West story here:

“We felt an immense amount of joy. We’re very, very proud of him,” his mother Manisha Menon said of her son at that time.

Karan Menon had told India-West he prepared for the bee that year by tackling the globe bit by bit with the help of Wikipedia, searching a topic and immediately placing the information into a Word document. He also interacted online with networks of others interested in geography.

According to an article on, Rao is the youngest champion to date in the junior varsity division. He was awarded a trophy and a scholarship to offset travel expenses for competing in the second IGB World Championships scheduled to be held in July 2020.

The International Geography Bee was founded in 2016 to give primary and secondary students around the world a chance to compete at the regional, national, and global levels in a new academic competition testing comprehensive knowledge of world geography.

The 16th International Geography Olympiad will be held in Hong Kong, China, under the auspices of the International Geographical Union Olympiad Task Force. The Olympiad will run from July 30 to Aug. 5.

The Olympiad offers an opportunity to showcase the geographical skills and understandings of a country's geography students, as well as a reward for student excellence, the bee said.

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